MP's anger at tax credit firm scandal

A local MP has angrily demanded an investigation into a firm which unfairly targeted Wigan families and tried to reduce their benefits

Friday, 21st October 2016, 2:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 7:42 pm
Labour MP for Makerfield Yvonne Fovargue

Makerfield parliamentary representative Yvonne Fovargue is leading calls for answers into the Government’s decision to employ US firm Concentrix to look into tax credit claims.

Ms Fovargue says dozens of people in her constituency have been stripped of money by the firm when the residents had actually done nothing wrong.

She is now joining colleagues in Labour in calling for a full investigation into how the situation arose, saying a recent decision by HMRC not to renew Concentrix’s contract does not go far enough.

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Ms Fovargue said: “There are still serious questions to be answered about the administration of the child tax credit system in general and by Concentrix in particular.

“We are faced with a commercial organisation performing what ought to be a public service to pursue profit. The lessons painfully learnt from the Atos debacle clearly highlight the dangerous and shameful immorality of practices that cause such distress to innocent people who will be denied benefits, even for a period of weeks, before a final decision is made.

“Labour stood up and fought back on proposed tax credits cuts and we will not stand by now. I will continue to fight for justice for all those people in my constituency who have been unfairly targeted by Synnex-Concentrix.

“In many cases tax credits have been completely stopped by the company who contract with HMRC to supposedly ‘correct’ tax credit claims.

“The Government needs to stop attempting to privatise our public services at the expense of hard-working people.”

Ms Fovargue said she has been approached by families extremely distressed at being penalised by Concentrix and not receiving money they were entitled to for false reasons. The firm’s reputation has been damaged by a wave of revelations about it incorrectly believing people to be living with another person.

Notorious cases which gained widespread media attention include a woman who was thought to be in a relationship with long-dead Quaker philanthropist Joseph Rowntree because she lived in a Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust property and a single mum who was told she was in a relationship with R.S Mc Coll due to her buying items from the convenience store of that name.

Government figures suggest Concentrix has been considering around 667,000 tax credit cases, with one in six of those being amended.